AP PHOTOS: A dramatic escalation of violence in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong police shot an 18-year-old protester at close range in the chest on Tuesday, in a dramatic escalation in violence as tens of thousands joined anti-government demonstrations across the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

The pistol shot hit the protester on the left side of his chest, and Hong Kong’s hospital authority said he was in critical condition.

While officers have previously fired warning shots in the air on multiple occasions during months of demonstrations in Hong Kong, this was the first time a protester is known to have been shot. There were other instances Tuesday when officers also drew their weapons, including two with bloodied faces who pointed pistols.